Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Memorial Day!

Take a moment to say thank you to those that have sacrificied so much for our freedom.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Seven Unknown Things About Me

First of all, thanks to all of you who sent along support after my last post. It was a hard week.... but your thoughts helped lift me up. Now to lighten the mood around here I decided to do a simple, silly little tag. No more emotional crap today. LOL!

Fellow Ohioan and June '06 DTC-er, Robin, tagged me about a week and a half ago. I just hadn't had time to do it but I'll give it a go now so I can procrastinate mowing the grass for a bit longer. I'm supposed to list 7 things about me that you guys don't know. Hmmmm... this was harder than I thought. Some people may know some of these but it was the best I could do.

1. I graduated from the police academy at the top of my class academically. I have a plaque to prove it.

2. I have completely flat feet. There are no arches. When I make a wet footprint on the ground, it looks like a duck foot. (Don't get any ideas, Tracy!) Not sexy at all. And it makes running that much more difficult. Not like I do that anymore but I have dreams of trying again someday......

3. I went on a cruise for my honeymoon. Then a year and a half later asked my husband for a divorce on another cruise. Kinda unintentionally full circle. I didn't plan it that way. It just happened. He had been unfaithful, we'd separated, then were back together and trying to fix it. I realized it just wasn't working for me anymore. An Elvis impersonator helped me make the decision. I guess that deserves an explanation. The week before our cruise we stayed at his mom's time share in Florida. One night we walked down on the boardwalk and found a free outdoor concert with this Elvis guy. Most of the audience were older people. They were enjoying themselves and so was I. The ex was complaining. I knew we were very different. Me... fun loving, optimistic, spontaneous, outgoing, and he was ...well, not. But when I married him I didn't think it mattered that much. I was wrong. During a love song, a bunch of the old folks got up and slow danced. It was very romantic. Slow dancing to Elvis songs under the stars on the beach. He didn't ask me to. So I asked him. He complained. He thought it was stupid and didn't want to. At that moment, I realized I didn't want to spend the rest of my life with someone who not only didn't want to slow dance with me but complained about it when I asked him to and then still refused. Not to mention all the other things we'd already been through at a time in our marriage when we were supposed to be happy, in-love newlyweds. My decision to divorce him was made in that instant. Best decision I've ever made.

4. When I eat eggs that are cooked sunny side up, I like the yolks to be runny. Then I eat all the white part carefully without busting the yolk. And stuff the whole yolk in my mouth and squish it. Gross... I know but I love it.

5. I have a scar on my right hand because my bratty little sister locked me out of the house when we were kids. Then stood with her face pressed up against the glass taunting me because I couldn't get in. So I punched her in the face. Through the glass. I didn't need stitches though. And I'm much better at my anger issues now that I'm a little more mature. LOL!

6. I've been robbed at gunpoint. Twice. The first time I was 16 and worked at a fast food place. The second time, I was already a cop. I was off-duty, unarmed and was standing out in a parking lot at 3am after having been out partying with friends. I was alone except for one of the bar bouncers that I was uhhh... talking to. We were distracted and didn't see the car pull up or the guy get out and approach us. When he pointed the gun at us and demanded our money, I instinctively stepped between he and the bouncer guy. Yeah... the big, 6 foot brawny bouncer man. I stepped in front of him to protect him. Funny, huh? We gave him our money but then the robber wanted our wallets. Well, I didn't want to give him mine because it had my badge and my driver's license in it. I didn't want him to know I was a cop and where I lived. So I sweet talked him out of taking it while he was waving that gun in my face. Stupid, well maybe. But I was more afraid of what could happen if he knew I was a cop. And of what might happen later if he knew where I lived. He didn't get my wallet.... and was caught a short time later.

7. I'm a huge Billy Joel fan. I have many of his albums and have seen him in concert twice. Don't ask me why. (Oh that was funny... completely unintentional, too. But for those who aren't fans...that's the name of one of his songs.) I think my mom listened to him a lot maybe when I was a kid and it just stuck with me. I loves the Piano Man.

Anybody who hasn't done this already, feel free to participate. Time for me to go do yard work. I think I've dragged it out long enough.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Day We Can't Forget

Eleven years ago today, I was a young rookie police officer with barely eleven months on the job. I was heading in to start my 3:30pm shift just like any other day.

As I went through the intersection a block from work, I saw three police cars go flying by with lights and sirens blaring. I didn't really think much of it because this was a very active high crime district. Not an unusual sight.

I pulled onto the street next to the office but couldn't get through. There were police cars just left haphazardly parked everywhere. I left my car by the side of the road and ran towards the building. No idea what was going on.

I was stopped by a sergeant telling me to take up a position for crowd control. He thought I was already on duty because I always came to work in full uniform instead of dressing at the office. I told him I was just trying to get to work to start my shift. I asked him what the hell was going on. A pained look came across his face. Like he had something to say but didn't know how to say it.

He told me that two members of my squad had been ambushed in the district parking lot and shot. I just stood there. I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up and the blood drain from my head. I can only imagine the look on my face since he immediately started asking me if I was okay. I felt like I was going to pass out. I was in shock. I didn't understand. How could this happen? We all knew that this was a risk of the job. But they weren't out patrolling the streets. They were walking in to work. Just like me....

The shooter had mental health issues. His family owned a local convenience store. This day was the day when he finally flipped out. No one knows why. He shot and killed a truck driver as he was delivering potato chips to their store. He stole the delivery truck and drove straight to our police station. He sat out in the parking lot and waited to murder a police officer.

Jake and Rob were walking together through the lot on the way to the door. They were even greener than I was... only graduated from the police academy 3 months before.

The gunman approached them just as they were about to enter the building and said "Hello Officers." They turned to return the greeting and he shot Jake. The bullet hit him in the hand but he was completely stunned, knocked off balance and fell to the ground.

The shooter immediately pointed the gun at Rob and shot him in the face. Rob went down. The shooter turned the gun back to Jake as he lay on the ground and executed him with a shot to the head. The whole thing took only about 2 seconds. Jake didn't even have a chance to react.

By now other officers coming to work ran across the lot. Others came out from the office. The shooter ran to the truck. A large gun battle ensued until finally he was killed. Fortunately, no other officers were injured.

It was a day that changed our department forever. Rob survived his injuries. But we lost Jake.

He was a third generation police officer. His grandfather retired from our department. His father was the sergeant over the homicide squad at the time. He responded to the "Officer Down" call that day as did everyone else on duty.

He had no idea it was his own son. But realized it once he arrived on scene and was physically held back by his fellow officers. No one wanted him to forever have that image of his dying son burned into his memory. He retired shortly after we buried Jake, his only son.

The funeral was one of the hardest things I've ever had to get through. There were 373 police cars in the processional. It stretched for miles. Every major city in Ohio was represented. Officers came from Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Indiana and beyond.

The weather was cold and dreary. There was a light misty rain all day. I guess that was fitting. I wept as we rode to the church in our police cars.

There were hundreds of people lining the route, standing out in that cold drizzle to pay their respects. Young and old. Black and white. Children and parents. Some crying. Some holding little American flags. Some with their hands over their hearts. Some standing at attention with a salute. Some held signs with words of support and condolences. It was one of the most touching things I've ever seen.

The church couldn't hold the more than one thousand officers, firefighters, emergency workers and civilians who attended the service. They set up loud speakers out in the parking lot for the overflow crowd. We, the squad that worked with him, took calls with him, and drank beers after our shift with him, had seats right up front. So did the members of his police academy class.

A fire department ambulance brought Rob to the service. He had not yet been released from the hospital but insisted on being there for his friend and classmate. He was in uniform, pushed in a wheelchair up to the front with his jaw wired shut, still recovering from the damage of the bullet.

I'm not sure how I held it together. I didn't think my legs would take me as I walked past his casket to say good-bye. All I could do was cry when I hugged his father.

After we left the church, we proceeded to the cemetery. There were two fire trucks at the entrance with their ladders up. In the center, where the two ladders crossed, hung an American flag just like in this photo.We, as his squadmates, wore special dress white uniform shirts. We lined the path as his casket was carried down between us. I felt like I was going to collapse as I stood there at attention holding my salute.

Directly across from me was Jake's training officer, trying to be stoic, but with tears streaming down his face. We just stared at each other. Both crying. But so focused. We stared.... until it was time to drop our arm from the brim of our hat. It was as if we were afraid that we might just fall over if we broke eye contact. I'll never forget that moment.A riderless horse was escorted past the gravesite as the bagpipers played. A lone trumpet played Taps. Then a 21 gun salute. Some words were spoken. The flag was folded and presented to his family. And then it was over.

I was numb for a few days after. But I returned to work. Because that was my job. We all continued to walk through that parking lot and deal with the memories of that day.

We entered our office through that door right next to where Jake's body had fallen. There were flowers there for a long while. Just placed on the ground right beside the door. We saw them but tried not to think about it. Some of the calls we'd take were awkward as the citizens would offer condolences after we took their accident report or quelled their family trouble.

I wore Jake's crew number memorial pin on my uniform shirt every day after that for the next 8 years until I went into a plainclothes assignment. 334A.... that was him. I wore it to honor him and everything he lost that day.

I wonder how things might be now if he were still here. Would we have been great friends? Would he be married with kids by now? How different would things be today? So many questions. What if I had been just a few minutes earlier coming to work that day? What if it had been me? Even after all these years, I still ask myself .... what if?

Every May 23rd I allow the memories of that horrible day to resurface. I let myself be sad. And I cry. I try not to think of it the rest of the time. But I'll never forget Jake. I'll never forget that day. So many details of it and the funeral that followed are forever a part of me.

Even with so many conflicted feelings of "why?"..... I still thank God that He left us with Rob. And I'm grateful I was running a little late on my way to work May 23, 1996. Those few extra minutes may have saved my life.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

An Evening With Friends & A Cooking Lesson

Last night I had dinner at Sam's house. My friend, Qing, and her son, Zhu, went with me. Cullen was so happy to have another boy to play with. They disappeared together about 30 seconds after we walked in the door and were inseparable the rest of the evening. Qing taught us how to make wontons. Very interesting. I kept folding mine like a diaper or something. But I finally got the hang of it. Connie joined us in the middle of our lesson. She seemed to catch on quicker than I did. Here's sweet little Miss Kieren after she sampled the delicious chocolate mousse that Sam had made. That stuff was so good you could hurt yourself!It was so inspiring to hear Qing talk about her homeland when she looked at the photos of Sam and Andy's adoption trip. She was also able to translate a few of Kieren's Chinese documents. She's genuinely excited for all of us about our adoptions. There's no resentment or animosity from her at all considering the situation in her country. She has such a kind heart. Her knowledge of China is a priceless resource to help me connect to this part of my daughter. Again I was reminded of how amazing this journey has been. When I think of how God has placed these people in my lives at exactly the right moment, I'm so grateful. There truly is nothing random about it.
We all had a great time. There's nothing better than an evening spent with good food and good friends. Thanks for the hospitality Sam, Andy, Cullen and Kieren! Oh and happy anniversary too!

**Updated to say thanks to Stacy for noticing the new do. You're good girl! Very observant. I had just gotten it layered and colored that afternoon before going to dinner. Much redder now. I love it!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

No Freakin' Way!!

This was the most depressingly sad season finale ever! Haven't the scriptwriters ever heard of a happy ending for chrissakes?! Couldn't at least one of these characters ended up in a good place?! I won't ruin it for those who may have TiVo'd it. All I'm saying is watch it with a box of tissues cuz you'll be crying by the end of it. I was. I can't believe I have to wait until next fall to get some closure here. What am I going to do all summer without my favorite show? :(

Strange-ology Tag

Sam tagged me with this weird one. Here goes....

What is your salad dressing of choice?
Blue Cheese ...the chunkier the better.
What is your favorite fast food restaurant?
Chipotle! Me luvs a big ole burrito.
What is your favorite sit-down restaurant?
Have no clear cut fave. Depends on what I'm in the mood to eat. Love evidenced by the size of my arse.
On average, what size tip do you leave at a restaurant?
20% unless the service sucked.
What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick of?
Definitely pizza!
What is your favorite type of gum?
Bubble Yum. Just about any flavor.

What is your wallpaper on your computer?
This pic. Xmas '05.

How many televisions are in your house?
Surprisingly enough 3...even though I live alone.
How do you listen to music?
Usually in the car or on my new I-Pod.

What’s your best feature?
Maybe my eyes. Although members of the opposite sex have been known to look slightly lower when talking to me. Maybe they'd say something different. :P
Have you ever had anything removed from your body?
Tonsils, wisdom teeth, gallbladder and then 3 liters of bile. Yuck!
Which of your five senses do you think is keenest?
I'm a trained observer. So my eyes would win. Although I interview and interrogate for a living. So I'm a good listener, too.
When was the last time you had a cavity?
Within the last few years.
What is the heaviest item you lifted last?
My bedroom furniture. Moved it away from the walls to paint. That was hard.
Have you ever been knocked unconscious?
Umm... not really knocked. But I guess you could say yes if you consider the 2 weeks I was in ICU. I sure don't remember most of it.

BULLSHIT-OLOGY (Who made this up?)
If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?
No it'd stress me out. I wouldn't enjoy my life as much.
Is love for real?
I agree with CJ's answer. Which is yes and it comes in many different forms.
If you could change your first name, what would you change it to?
Beyonce' but only if I could be her too.
What color do you think looks best on you?
Black. It's slimming.
Have you ever swallowed a non-food item by mistake?
Yes. By mistake and also on purpose. :P
Have you ever saved someone’s life?
Well, nothing dramatic but I'm a cop... so probably.
Has someone ever saved yours?
Yes. The ICU nurses and docs at MVH. Thank you guys!

Would you walk naked for a half mile down a public street for $100,000?
Yes. In a remote rural town in South Dakota. Nobody knows me there.
Would you kiss a member of the same sex for $100?
Hmmmm..... all I'm gonna say about this is one should never dare me when I've been drinking tequilla.
Would you allow one of your little fingers to be cut off for $200,000?
No. Where would I put my pinkie ring? But maybe you could have a toe.
Would you never blog again for $50,000?
Yes, but I'd set up a MySpace page. That's not the same thing, right?
Would you pose nude in a magazine for $250,000?
Only if I could be seriously retouched.
Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1,000?
Would you give up watching television for a year for $25,000?
It'd suck but yep I think I would.

What is in your left pocket?
Is Napoleon Dynamite actually a good movie?
Do you have hardwood or carpet in your house?
Do you sit or stand in the shower?
Could you live with roommates?
Been there. Done that. Choose not to anymore.
How many pairs of flip-flops do you own?
More than 10. I live in flip-flops in the summer. When I'm not at work that is.
Last time you had a run-in with the cops?
Is this a trick question? Every morning when I go to the office and deal with my squad mates it's a run-in of sorts. Especially if they're in a bad mood.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Who says I want to grow up?
Last friend you talked to?
My partner at work. Rod is his name.
Last person you called?
Well, I just left work so if you mean literally "the last person" it'd be a witness to a crime.

First place you went this morning?
To pee.
What can you not wait to do?
This is the obvious answer... go to China and hold my daughter for the first time. I just got goosebumps.
What’s the last movie you saw?
Walk the Line. Very cool flick.

So anybody else want to give it a go? Consider yourself tagged.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Wishing for my daughter

Happy Mother's Day!
To all the strong women I know.
And to all the mothers of the world.
Whether you've been blessed with your children or are still waiting for them to come home.

For Mia
Although I don't know you yet, I feel you in my heart. There isn't a day that passes that I don't think about you. I wonder if you've been born yet. I worry about whether you're safe. I hope and pray that someone is taking care of you. It hurts that it's not me. I dream of the day when I can finally hold you in my arms. But until that day, I have to stay strong. And so do you. Even though you will be born to another, half a world away, you are my daughter and I am your mother. I have faith in the fact that this was the way it was meant to be. I am coming for you. No matter how long it takes me to get there. I promise.
Because I love you more than all the stars in the sky.
And I always will.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Double Congratulations!!

Two big events to celebrate! The first is the referral of Hannah Tian that finally came for my sweet friend Colleen and her husband Jim. I was so filled with joy to see this beautiful face. They've waited a long time for her. Click over to their blog Journey to Ms Hannah to send along your congrats. Is that not the most precious face? Adorable! I can't wait to witness them bring her home and realize their dream of becoming parents. They'll be great at it!
The second big fat congratulations is for my baby brother who finally finished barber college and passed the test to become a licensed barber! Kudos to him not only for all the hard work and sacrifice that it took to do this but also for realizing that it's never too late to change your mind if you're not happy. He took a risk by leaving a stable, financially secure job that he hated to go back to school and start over. That took guts. Not many people are brave enough to do that. Especially when they're nearing 30 and have a house payment. Congratulations Travis! I know you'll be a great success. And you'll be happy making a living doing what you enjoy!
Oh and this is our youngest nephew, Teagan, getting his first haircut from Uncle Travis. Cute, huh?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Happy Birthday Kristy!

Today is my brother's girlfriend's birthday so I just wanted to give her a Happy Birthday shout out! This pic was taken at Christmas time. This is my little brother, Travis (aka the smart ass anonymous commenter), Kristy and her son, Braeden.

Kristy and Braeden have been a welcome addition to our family. My brother has been in a much better mood since they came along. (Thanks Kristy. He can be very moody but I'm sure you've already figured that out.) These two are a good fit. They go together like peanut butter and jelly.

It's nice to see Travis with Braeden, too. He's gotten very attached to him and when you see them together you can tell the feeling is mutual. Braeden's an adorable kid. He's a natural redhead and cute as a button. Kristy tried to teach him how to say my name so she focused on the "K" sound. It worked. Sort of. Now I'm Ka-Ka-Ka-woosta. How sweet is that?!

To follow their adventures go to Kristy's blog My Little Man. Click here and watch this cute video of Braeden. It cracks me up!
Happy Birthday Kristy!
I hope Travis planned something nice for you today!

Friday, May 04, 2007

To Hanne from Denmark & Abby in MA

Hanne in Denmark commented on this post that she is a single momma awaiting her 2nd Chinese daughter. Very cool! You should start a blog, too, Hanne. We'd love to hear about your adventures over across the sea.

Abby from Massachusetts commented after Hanne saying that she'd love to talk to her since she's traveling to Denmark in a few months to teach.

Hanne & Abby - if you're interested in chatting with each other, you can both send me an e-mail. The link is in my sidebar. Then I'll be the matchmaker and forward the other's e-mail addy to you both. Isn't the World Wide Web amazing?

Oh... and for everyone who wanted to know how to do the sitemeter thingy and asking for help, I got nothing for ya. My computer skills are extremely limited so my tech installed it for me. (That would be Connie.) :P

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Miscellaneous Stuff ***Update***

First of all, what's up with all the wise ass anonymous commenters on the last post? "Anonymous" annoys the hell out of me when you don't sign your name. Plus didn't you read down a few posts where I discuss my sitemeter? You're never really anonymous. I can find you. Now I appreciate a smart ass as much as the next guy. Because I am one, too. And the comments weren't bad. But if you're going to step up and say it, at least have the balls to sign your name to it. It's a pet peeve of mine. And yes, it's a public blog that anyone can read. But when you comment, I feel like you are ~in essence~ speaking directly to me. I wouldn't come into your house without introducing myself. Don't make me have to start moderating my comments and deleting all the anonymous ones. Just play nice. Enough about that...

****Update***** Mystery solved. It has been confirmed. The smart ass anon is my little brother. ALL of the anon comments are him.....and have been for quite awhile. Even as adults they never stop screwing with you. Geez.... Oh and this is proof that smart ass-edness runs in the family. Yes I just made up my own word.

I owe an overdue thank you to my super cool Secret Pal. Here's what I got this month. Neat, huh? I love these Baby Einstein DVD's. This is one that teaches sign. Love it. Thanks SP!

These came from my blogger buddies, Dawn, Jacob & Lily over at Eggrolls & Chopsticks. Penguin biscuits all the way from the UK! Now here we just call them cookies. Hmmm...maybe they did taste a little fancier since they were British and all. I'm glad I took a pic cuz they didn't last long. De-lish! Thanks guys!
I'm making progress on my bedroom re-do. I've only had the time and energy to tackle it a little at a time. Which is why I've had a ladder in there for nearly 3 months now. But it's getting there. Pics soon.

And I mean it this time. My grandma is coming next Friday from Wisconsin to pick up the fabric.We'll spend a few hours looking through the squares, figuring out a pattern and deciding on fabric for the edging and reverse side. Then she'll go home and start the work on it. So if you want to be included in Mia's 100 Good Wishes Quilt this is your last chance to get me a square. Seriously. Last chance. If it doesn't get here by Friday, I can mail it on to her. BUT IT NEEDS TO GET HERE SOON or you'll be S.O.L. Click on the quilt link in the sidebar to scroll through what we have so far if you can't remember if you sent one or not. Drop me an e-mail if you're gonna send one. And thanks to everyone who contributed! I can't wait to see how it turns out.

My sister, Carla, jumped on the blogger train awhile back. You can follow her crazy life as the mother of four over at Tales Of The T's. Now we've gotten my brother on board too. Well, it's actually his girlfriend's blog but he has a starring role. Check out Travis, Kristy and her son, Braeden over at My Little Man. For anyone in the family that's wants to follow them regularly, there are links to both blogs in my sidebar. Now you'll never have to wonder what we've been up to cuz you can just read it. Why didn't we think of this sooner?? Certainly saves on long distance calls ....and you get to see pics of all the kids! Cool!

That's all I got for ya today. Peace out.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Good-bye My Love...

While I really never thought he'd win against the caliber of talent on the show this season, he was the most delicious eye candy. My Tuesdays and Wednesdays will be empty without you, my darling. Sigh....

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Congratulations Colleen & Jim!!

Finally someone in my homegirl posse got a referral!! I'm over the top happy for these two who so deserve to be parents. They missed the cut off last month, when only 2 days worth of LID's were matched. But after 18+ long months, Hannah is finally on her way! Unfortunately, they have to wait a bit longer to see her face but they should have pics by Monday. Click here to wish them well and be sure to check back later to see their sweet baby girl.

And for the record, they've matched LID's up to November 1, 2005.